Pontypridd RFC 9 Bedwas RFC 6. Welsh Premier Friday 7 March 2008.
Ponty applied the early pressure with a series of drives right up to the Bedwas line but a try scoring opportunity lost due to an accidental off-side. The home team secured long phases of possession, but all those phases ended in stalemate. Another foray into the opposition twenty-two, with fine support skills in evidence, drew a blank for Ponty as an overlap was wasted due to a misplaced pass. Bedwas were under pressure, their infringing seemingly harshly penalised with a yellow card issued to lock Craig Powell, Ponty outside half Gareth McCarthy slotted the ensuing penalty.
Bedwas made the most of the opportunities that came their way, outside half Stuart Thomas hoisting over a penalty to level the scores. The home team once more made mistakes, allowing Bedwas to counter attack, but their efforts thwarted by some excellent cover defending from home lock Dicomidis. Ponty retaliated with a series of drives, led by prop Stuart Williams, their efforts rewarded through another successful penalty kick by McCarthy.
The game so far was keenly contested, but a pretty lack-lustre affair with Ponty just maintaining an edge to justify their slender lead. A driving maul took the home pack upfield, but McCarthy pulling wide a kickable penalty. As Ponty set up camp in their opponents’ half, McCarthy made amends with another penalty attempt, this time despatched between the posts, to give his team a lead of 9pts to 3 at the interval.
It was pretty much more of the same as the second period progressed, Ponty gaining a distinct advantage in terms of possession and territory, but failing to dominate what was often a scrappy encounter. A rampaging burst from flanker Lee Evans gave Ponty more impetus in attack, but still with no points in reward. Making numerous changes off the bench, Ponty were failing to notch up a gear, although keeping the game up almost exclusively in the visitors’ half.
A snap counter offensive from Bedwas was held at bay before Ponty struck back through a Kris Baller kick and chase. Going into the final fifteen minutes of the game, Ponty were not in the comfort zone, being shunted backwards in the scrums, and conceding a penalty which Bedwas outside half Thomas converted. Bedwas supporters saw two 'tries' disallowed for adjudged forward passes, the second of which appeared to be a harsh decision. There was a nail biting finish in store to what had largely been a mundane affair, with Ponty playing down the clock in defence of a slender lead. The home team held out, clinching a valuable victory by 9points to 6.
Match report adapted from the Ponty website version by Ian Lovell